Nakamura On 5.0/5 At Gibraltar Masters

Nakamura On 5.0/5 At Gibraltar Masters

| 24 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Hikaru Nakamura started with 5.0/5 at the Gibraltar Masters. He leads alone at the half-way point.

The Masters section of the 2015 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival took off on Tuesday, January 27th — only two days after the Tata Steel tournament. The first round was covered already, so let's look at what happened after.

As early as the second round two leading contenders were held to draw by their lower-rated opponents. GM Das Debashis of India got into trouble againt GM Veselin Topalov but managed to keep the game very complicated. After an amazing tactical sequence White had RNB vs Q and the players shook hands soon. A great fighting draw!

GM Peter Svidler stayed true to his favorite Grünfeld against IM Dennis Wagner, who had prepared very well. The game was always about equal.

Bigger upsets were GM Emil Sutovsky's loss to GM Vishnu Prasanna and GM Simen Agdestein going down against GM M.R. Venkatesh.

Everyone who plays the Torre Attack is hoping to win his game like GM Richard Rapport did against IM Aryan Tari. The Norwegian might have been slightly naive to open that h-file there!

GM Hou Yifan's win in this second round meant that she moved to first place on the women's live rating list, ahead of Judit Polgar. Later in the tournament she would drop below again, so it might take a bit longer before she becomes the first woman to rank above the great Hungarian player.

Hou Yifan: still not the #1 woman yet. | Photo John Saunders.

13 players reached 3.0/3 and only one of them was an IM. The Icelandic champion, Gudmundur Kjartansson, had an execellent start with wins against GM Mateusz Bartel and GM Axel Bachmann. He's back with his feet on the ground after losses against GM Peter Svidler and GM Surya Ganguly.

GM Pentala Harikrishna won a nice game as White. Below the moves and his explanation taken from the live show, every day on during the rounds:

After four rounds only four players were left with a perfect score: GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Renier Vazquez Igarza, GM Baskaran Adhiban and GM Wei Yi. Yes, after winning the Tata Steel challengers, the 15-year-old Chinese prodigy duly continued in great form!

This his how he defeated one of his compatriots in round 4:

Wei Yi is now a 2700 player in the live ratings. | Photo John Saunders.

GM Nils Grandelius was surprisingly helpess against GM Hikaru Nakamura:

Nakamura leads after five rounds. | Photo John Saunders.

In the fifth round GM Wei Yi was finally held to a draw, by GM Renier Vazquez Igarza. Nakamura did win, and is now the sole leader.

He played a topical line in the Queen's Gambit Accepted where Black sacrifices an exchange at an early stage. It wasn't so clear from start to finish, but as soon as he found 31...Ne7! the game was basically over. 

2015 Gibraltar Masters | Round 5 Standings (Top 25)

Rk. SNo Title Name Fed Rtg Pts. TB1
1 2 GM Nakamura Hikaru USA 2776 5 3337
2 1 GM Topalov Veselin BUL 2800 4,5 2865
3 6 GM Yu Yangyi CHN 2724 4,5 2860
4 12 GM Wei Yi CHN 2675 4,5 2850
5 15 GM Howell David W L ENG 2670 4,5 2846
6 34 GM Vazquez Igarza Renier ESP 2592 4,5 2833
7 45 GM Oparin Grigoriy RUS 2551 4 2755
8 7 GM Harikrishna P. IND 2723 4 2753
9 33 GM Roiz Michael ISR 2592 4 2749
10 4 GM Vitiugov Nikita RUS 2735 4 2744
11 21 GM Adhiban B. IND 2630 4 2736
11 85 GM Vishnu Prasanna. V IND 2463 4 2736
13 65 IM Wagner Dennis GER 2501 4 2727
14 3 GM Svidler Peter RUS 2739 4 2721
15 11 GM Rodshtein Maxim ISR 2680 4 2719
16 13 GM Hou Yifan CHN 2673 4 2711
17 28 GM Lenderman Aleksandr USA 2614 4 2704
18 29 GM Bologan Viktor MDA 2608 4 2696
19 36 GM Nabaty Tamir ISR 2579 4 2681
20 26 GM Naroditsky Daniel USA 2622 4 2669
21 22 GM Bachmann Axel PAR 2629 4 2646
22 32 GM Ganguly Surya Shekhar IND 2595 4 2639
23 57 IM Muzychuk Mariya UKR 2520 4 2604
24 35 GM Mareco Sandro ARG 2583 4 2596
25 39 GM Sandipan Chanda IND 2574 4 2535

The Gibraltar Chess Festival always includes lots of side events. One of the highlights so far was the 3rd edition of the Battle of the Sexes. On Saturday part of the restaurant area had been turned into a boxing ring, with a giant chess set in the middle.

Two teams of six played each other, alternating moves, with 10 minutes each on the clock. Whereas the women had won surprisingly with 2-1 last year, this time they couldn't repeat their success. The men won the first two games, and then the third was drawn.

But this is not about results. This is about a great and fun tradition!

The men's team with David Howell, Hikaru Nakamura, Wei Yi, Ivan Cheparinov,
Surya Ganguly and Peter Svidler. | Photo John Saunders.
The women's team with Natalia Zhukova, Salome Melia, Mariya Muzychuk,
Harika Dronavalli, Elisabeth Paehtz and Jovanka Houska. | Photo John Saunders.
Nakamura winning even more games in Gib! | Photo John Saunders.
With a mate in two looming, Liz Paehtz decides to manipulate things a bit. Yes, she's sitting on the clock!

Another tradition is a number of masterclasses by strong participants. Below you can watch the masterclass given by GM Veselin Topalov, which shouldn't be missed. The Bulgarian shows a nice win over Alexei Shirov from 2004, but then also answers questions on a wide range of topics. He's funny and incredibly honest.

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